Engineering & Manufacturing

How to be a Freelance Electrical Engineer

freelance electrical engineer

Electrical Engineering is what powers the world today. All the hydroelectric, thermoelectric, and even bioelectric forms of energy that we see all around us have bases in Electrical engineering. It is thus, one of the most sought after careers as people turn towards sustainable and achievable goals. Whether you are a fulltime employee, looking for some extra earning, or you are a self-employed engineer, simply trying to get your business up and running, there is something in it for all.

The reasons why you chose to become an electrical engineer may vary, for some of you, it can be the extra income, some of you may wish to work from home, and take on multiple projects. You may even consider the independence associated with a career as a freelancer; the list goes on. Your preferences dictate your main reason for choosing the option. However, you can rest assured that freelance electrical engineer is a career that will give you a comfortable life, along with a low-stress working environment like the confines of your home.

Job Duties for Freelance Electrical Engineer:

Electrical engineers have a host of duties that revolve around building electrical and electronic equipment, and designing prototypes. For instance, an organisation that makes power generators may contract you to design a newer prototype, or to test one. Some of the duties that will fall under your purview, as a freelance electrical engineer, include:

  • Reading and interpreting blueprints, technical drawings, schematics, and computer-generated reports.
  • Planning and implementing research methodologies and procedures to apply principles of electrical theory to engineering projects.
  • Preparing specifications for purchase of materials and equipment.
  • Liaising with, supervising, and training project team members as necessary.
  • Investigating, testing and stress testing vendors and competitors’ products.
  • Overseeing the project production efforts to assure projects finish on time and within budget.
  • Preparing and studying technical drawings, specifications of electrical systems, and topographical maps to ensure that installation and operations conform to standards and customer requirements.
  • Developing budgets, estimating labour, material, and construction costs.
  • Compiling data and writing reports regarding existing and potential engineering studies and projects.
  • Collecting data relating to commercial and residential development, population, and power system interconnection to determine operating efficiency of electrical systems.
  • Conducting field surveys and study maps, graphs, diagrams, and other data to identify and correct power system problems.
  • Writing performance requirements for product development or engineering projects.

Skills:

Testing, designing, and implementation are mostly what laymen associate engineering jobs to. While, they are correct, engineering jobs also require you to do more than implementation and design process. You need to develop some skills, which include:

  • Mathematical skills
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Critical Thinking
  • Scientific Skills
  • Decision Making
  • Operations Research
  • Operations Analysis
  • Co-ordination
  • Active Learning
  • Self-motivated
  • Able to work remotely
  • Systems Analysis
  • Quality control
  • Deductive Reasoning
  • Equipment selection

Many websites will help you develop the above-mentioned skills. Remember that Freelance Electrical Engineering is a graduate level course you should work towards certifications, or a degree. E-learning websites will help you develop the skills you will need as an electrical engineer. Electrical4U, Open Courseware, Coursera, BuckNell Uni and Electrical Engineering Blog offer many options to learn online.

Being Successful as a Freelance Electrical Engineer:

Talent is not always a determinant in the pursuit of success in any sphere. It is possibly truer for engineers, with the freelance market insisting that talent combined with the relevant experience attracts generous prospective employers.

Hence, to be successful initially, you could:

  • Offer to do projects for minimum fees, sometimes for free
  • Bid the lowest for a project on freelancer portals
  • Get good testimonials for guest blogs, recommendations for work
  • Start a blog, back link it to more visible blogs
  • Create a website, or at the very least, a web page
  • Advertise your services on social media platforms
  • Understand the engineering requirement intimately
  • Develop prototypes alone or with a group of likeminded engineers to get noticed
  • Sharpen your Communication skills, as it would help you get more jobs
  • Master Engineering Basics

Average Remunerations:

The revenue you can stand to generate, and the money you can earn depends on your ability to market your services and your credibility with previous employees.

Usually freelance portals offer various kinds of payment models. In the fixed-price model, the price is usually pre-determined. The hourly model is the most popular and employers usually pay a predetermined sum per hour. Finally, in the project-budget based model, you often need to auction for a price that fits within the budget and is attractive to a prospect employer. Usually a fixed price model may range from $20- $200 and upwards, while you have to pitch for hourly projects, and budget payments, which usually range from $5- $35 an hour, with average payments at $22 per hour.

Finding Work:

Elance, Odesk, Peopleperhour and Guru offer many opportunities to freelance electrical engineer around the globe. You can simply register with any of these websites and begin working on projects immediately.

Resources:

Electrical Engineering is a graduate level course you should work towards certifications, or a degree. E-learning websites will help you develop the skills you will need as an electrical engineer. Electrical4U, Open Courseware, Coursera, BuckNell Uni and Electrical Engineering Blog offer many options to learn online.

For more information on Freelance Electrical Engineer please visit www.careerlancer.net

  • I have been a freelancer for a couple of months now. So I do my freelancing at Freelancer.com. It is a good site with a lot of projects going on. However, I can not find any engineering job for me. It is a shame. I think I lost to a better company, and they have like all the portfolio I could think of, the highest rating possible, recommendations, good reviews, with also the lowest price on the bidding! How could a new freelancer compete with that? That is unfair. So I decided to take some non-engineering job and I have done some already. So I hope I could get nice review and ratings to start competing as an engineer.

    • Roddy P. Carbonell

      Yeah, you need to find someone who is willing to hire you despite your lack of a good portfolio, and that could take months, years even.

  • Roddy P. Carbonell

    What kind of software should I use? Right now, I am using LTSpice. Altium is way too expensive. Is there anything out there that is good for freelancers?